- Vol. 03
- Chapter 08
What must it be like to live life without a frame: am I awake or asleep when I have this thought? We talk of people being large-framed, so perhaps there is some relationship between the skeleton and the frame, although one is on the inside, the other on the outside, of the picture, at least – a sort of exo-skeleton, perhaps.
How do I know it is a picture? Perhaps, I am fooled by how still she sits – looking out – or perhaps it is in – at the viewer. But here is a gaze to launch a thousand questions. A gaze to support the medieval belief that seeing is a far more active act than we moderns credit it with. Here is a gaze that needs no frame but rather frames you the dreamer, the viewer. A gaze that brings to mind, on the outer reaches of memory, the recollection of my mother's eyes – her most effective disciplinary tool - that she would turn on us misbehaving children. A gaze that frames the moment and freezes Medusa-like.
Why is she in my dreams at all, and what does she wish to say to me? If, according to one mode of dream analysis I, the dreamer, am every object and figure in a dream, how am I her? And here? This person with a nondescript hat perched atop long, lank brown hair, her face turned every so slightly, the better to impale you with the gaze – the eyes so wide, as if you could see the whites all round not just at the sides – the ayes have it and all that. Is that it? Do I need to be more aye and less nay – neigh,neigh neigh! The neighbourhood is going to the dogs. Behind her the merest suggestion of a landscape.
She floats alone – a frameless face – a pair of nameless eyes, the better to see past the past, present and future. Am I the gazed upon or the gazer? Am I the frameless, nameless one or the frame to this act of– …. Once you see, can you forget or must you remember that to see is to witness, to witness is to be conscious, and to be conscious is to be, which still today is not sufficient.
If we are nothing but the “stuff that dreams are made on” is that “stuff” the frame, the skeleton, the stuffing of dreams, and more particularly this dream with a gaze that can lance the boil of history; a gaze that not simply receives the outer phenomena of life, but arises of a morning, clothes itself in whatever is necessary to the day and rides- nay, sashays -aye!- out to meet the all and sundry of life. A gaze that, should you meet it, might leave you wounded, dead or so alive to the idea of life lived on the brink of, the edge of, the frame of nowhere. On the road to somewhere none of us know.